Monday, October 20, 2014

EXTRA: Gubernatorial, el finito

Call me among the pathetic – insofar as the masses are concerned. I turned off my television and chose not to watch “Dancing with the Stars,” instead turning to WLS-TV’s web site to see the final gubernatorial debate live held Monday night.

Those who had no computer access had to wait for the delayed broadcast (at 10:30 p.m., following the late-night news). It reminds me of 1981 – when I listened to the Chicago Sting win the North American Soccer League championship that year on radio because no one would carry the NASL “Soccer Bowl” live on television.

SO WHAT DID we, the people (at least those of us with an interest in voting for governor), gain from this final face-to-face confrontation between Gov. Pat Quinn and his Republican challenger, Bruce Rauner?

There’s the ongoing problem of shortfalls in the amount of money needed to fund state-monitored pension programs. Quinn signed a reform measure into law, but the courts have not been favorable to it – and some people expect the courts will eventually strike down that measure.

Leaving Illinois with nothing in place.

Rauner wants to think that Quinn himself is to blame for this mess. “Pension issues are one of the biggest issues we face,” he said. “Quinn failed, then dumped into the Legislature’s hands this issue. It’s the governor’s obligation.”

HE ALSO SAID that Quinn has been eager to point out social issues, “because he can’t run on financial issues.”

Although I know first-hand from dealing with the General Assembly that any governor who thinks he can strong-arm the Legislature is going to find himself thoroughly beaten. Just look at what became of Rod Blagojevich – a Legislature that was more than eager to impeach when the feds began probing his administration.

So Quinn may have a point when he says, “I know how to work with legislators. My opponent demonizes legislators.” He also said, "I have a lot of power, and I have used it wisely," while downplaying the many moments when Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, has treated Quinn as though he ranks lower than a legislative page.

There’s also the notion that the General Assembly may consider a permanent boost in the state income tax – the increase that was supposed to be temporary and wither away after this year. But which Quinn says is now necessary just to maintain government.

QUINN HAS CONSTANTLY said he’s going to push this issue in the veto session come November (after the Nov. 4 elections), and twice reiterated that notion on Monday. “He (Rauner) doesn’t want the income tax, he wants the Bruce Rauner tax,” which Quinn defines as, “fees charged on services that apply to regular people.”

Although Rauner tried again (just as in the debate last week) to pressure Quinn to say he would NOT back the increase and would let the state funding wither away. Which came across more as Rauner getting overly preachy with his rhetoric. Move on, already!

One tidbit of interest – it has been reported that city Treasurer Stephanie Neely does not plan to seek another term in office come the 2015 municipal elections. Rauner on Monday said he plans to hire her to be a part of his gubernatorial administration and said Quinn “threw her off the ticket” when he chose former Chicago schools CEO Paul Vallas instead of Neely to be his lieutenant governor running mate.

If Rauner manages to win come Nov. 4, that is. Otherwise, Neely could wind up governmentally unemployed.

I ALSO GOT my kick from hearing Rauner refer to himself as a “nobody.”

As in, “I’m Nobody that Nobody sent.” As a reference to political science professor Milton Rakove’s famed book about Chicago politics during the Richard J. Daley era – which referred to what he was told when he, as a University of Chicago student, tried to volunteer his services to work for the local ward organization.

Somehow, I don’t think that a venture capitalist was the type of person who qualified as a “nobody” in Rakove’s mind!

Although I wonder if Rauner was trying to compare himself to the Roosevelt and Kennedy families when he pointed out their personal wealth. “You don’t judge a person by the size of their wallet,” he said.


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